I recently photographed the Dancing Bear Lodge and its brand new restaurant/event center. The owners, Mark and Sharon Oldham, are terrific people who are doing amazing things in that community. I appreciated their hospitality. The new facilities replace structures that caught fire in the fall of 2013 and were demolished. I also photographed two new luxury villas added to the property.
My goal on this assignment from River Works was to capture the ambiance of the new places and the beauty of the architecture and the food. For more than half a year, anticipation had been building among long-time fans of the property and people in the Knoxville TN area. My images were going to be, for most of that audience, their first glimpse at what awaited them before actually visiting it in person to see for themselves. These images are also being used for a variety of purposes, from social media marketing to brochures to billboards to magazine article submissions. I would have considered the shoot a failure if the opening night in late August 2015 had not been a complete sell-out.
I highly recommend Dancing Bear Lodge when you are traveling in the Great Smoky Mountains. The estate is on the non-commercialized side of the Smokies, so you get the beauty of the countryside without all of the neon, traffic and cheesy in-your-face extras. To call their accommodations “cabins” is selling them short; this is premium lodging. I thought my bed at home was fabulous, but the bed I slept in at Dancing Bear was so comfortable that I literally fell asleep meaning to watch some television after a long day of shooting and in the morning, I did not want to leave it. To make your reservation, call 1.800.369.0111 ext 1. You can also visit http://dancingbearlodge.com.
I also had an opportunity to dine at the new Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro. Superb! Executive Chef Shelley Cooper is a true artist in the kitchen — and you know that has to be high praise coming from someone who is as picky of an eater as myself. Whenever I eat Shelley’s dishes, I have full confidence that something delicious is about to be experienced. When you are in the Smokies, you owe it to yourself to make reservations at this restaurant. You won’t regret it.